September 29th, 2014

DSLR cameras for the avid amateur

I’m sure there are many amateur photographers who occasionally consider upgrading to a DSLR and would like to know more about how it would enhance their craft. After all, isn’t the photographer’s eye for composition what really matters?

Obviously a better camera results in better quality photos, and in this post I hope to address a few of the specific enhancements and possibilities that a DSLR can provide your photography. In particular, I’ll be looking at two of the newest models to hit the market from two of the industry’s most iconic brands:

(1) Nikon Full-Frame D750

Within Nikon’s current offering of full-frame DSLRs, the D750 represents an upgrade from the D610. It also incorporates some features from the D810; 51-point auto focus (AF), for example. This five-minute video from Nikon is a great overview of the D750’s features:

Video timeline:

  • 0:32 Smaller, lighter, more comfortable grip
  • 1:14 Tilting LCD screen
  • 2:00 Same AF as the D810
  • 2:27 Amazing low-light sensitivity
  • 2:47 Facial recognition auto-focus
  • 2:50 Same video capabilities as the D810
  • 3:14 Expeed 4 full-frame photography advantages
  • 3:50 Built-in flash commander; advantages for outdoor portraits
  • 4:40 6.5 FPS continuous shooting
  • 4:56 Built-in wifi for smartphone photo transfers and camera control

For those unfamiliar with the term, a full-frame digital DSLR camera has a sensor that’s about the same size as 35mm film. To fully explain it would require going into some detail about things like focal length and crop factor, which you can learn more about if you’re so inclined. Essentially, there are two main benefits to going full-frame:

  1. With a full-frame camera plus a standard wide-angle lens, you can capture much more impressive landscapes and building interiors.
  2. The sensor on a full-frame is larger than standard digital sensors, which means you can capture higher quality images—especially in low light.

Arguably the D750’s most notable upgrade is its 100-12800 (Lo 1 to Hi 2) ISO sensitivity, which is double that of the D610. In lay terms, this refers to the camera’s sensitivity to light. So if you’re planning on, say, going on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of European cathedrals, the D750 would definitely help you take beautiful shots in low light.

(2) Canon EOS 7D Mark II

As the 7D does not appear to be accompanied by its own concise-yet-informative YouTube video, I sought some expert advice; specifically Matt N. from the Camera Department at the Granville St. London Drugs. According to Matt, the Mark II has been eagerly anticipated by camera geeks everywhere since the original EOS 7D was discontinued. Together, we ran through its extensive list of features, which includes:

  • 65-Point All Cross Type AF
  • Rapid burst 10 FPS shooting
  • 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor
  • Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors
  • Built-in GPS for location tracking
  • Built-in intervalometer for time-lapse capture
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port
  • 100-16000 ISO range for still & video
  • 10 FPS high speed continuous burst shooting

Unlike the D750, the Mark II is not a full-frame camera. However, its APS-C sensor and Intelligent Viewfinder provide approximately 100% field of view plus exceptional low-light performance. Matt was particularly impressed with the Mark II, calling it a huge upgrade over its predecessor; in fact, he described both its ISO (low-light capabilities) and 10 FPS (high-speed) shooting as “ridiculous.”

Either of these two cameras provide the tools to help you capture infinitely better photos, no matter what, where or when you’re shooting. With larger sensors and pixels capable of storing more information, they also provide you with many more options when it comes to printing and display. (In fact, there’s a whole other post about them.)

image1

The “ridiculous” (in a good way) Mark II

 

 



September 26th, 2014

Ultimate Enlargements and DSLR Cameras

My last post was a feature about DSLR cameras, with specific focus on two new models, the full-frame Nikon D750 and Canon EOS 7D Mark II. While each came with a laundry list of new, improved and amazing photo and video features, there are a couple of advantages that set virtually all DSLR cameras—especially full frame—have in common:

  • Larger sensors and field-of-view: As I mentioned in my previous post, full frame DSLR cameras allow for a 100% field of view. This allows you to capture more expansive landscapes with more detail, especially when using a wide-angle lens. Larger sensors mean the camera is capable of recording more detail and thus capturing higher quality pictures, even in low light situations.
  • Larger pixels/ higher pixel counts: DSLR cameras with higher pixel counts provide finer image detail. Larger pixels mean more light is able to be captured per pixel (thus responsible for the insanely high ISO levels of the D750 and the Mark II).

As you might have guessed, photos taken with cameras such as these reproduce very well at large sizes. After all, DSLRs are much too big of an investment if all you’re doing is creating screensavers for yourself. To display photos with the magnitude they deserve, enlargements from the PhotoLab are the only way to go.

Ultimate enlargements and the process behind them were covered extensively back in February, so I won’t revisit those details here. To quickly summarize the process:

  • Anything over 12 X 18” is printed on a large format printer that can handle sizes all the way up to 44 x 100”.
  • Patented inks combined with the highest resolution printing in the industry accurately reproduce even the rich colour and ultra-fine details that high-end DSLR cameras are able to capture.
  • On top of high quality printing, PhotoLab experts inspect every image and correct colour, contrast and sharpness to ensure the enlargement is as sharp and crystal-clear as it can be.
  • As with regular size photo prints, the PhotoLab offers several different output options such glossy or pearl finishing, borders, foam core mounting and laminating; consult your local PhotoLab to see which options are available for each enlargement size.

Of course, if you really want to bring out the best in your high-quality photos, you’ll want to use a fine art paper.

image1

If a photo like this one (taken with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II) looks this good—at this tiny size—imagine how great it would look when enlarged.

 



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